The Current State Of EU Tyre Labels

  • Author: OPONEO.IE
Earlier this month, the EU began its 24 month review process of EU tyre labels, with the possibility of making changes based on the findings. This is important for drivers, as the label system has come under a lot of scrutiny since its implementation in November 2012.

The Tyre Label Review Process

For the next 2 years, various organisations across the EU will participate in a review process entitled The Market Surveillance Action on Tyres 2015 (MSTYR15). This will involve tests of various model tyres, as well as inspections of individual units to assure quality.
Tyres with EU labels

Over 15000 individual tyres with EU labels
will be inspected

Overall, this process will look at:

●     150 model tyres
●     1500 documents
●     15000 individual tyres

This is also a program being undertaken across the EU, with various organisations taking part, the main leader of which is PROSAFE. The countries actively participating are:

●     Belgium
●     Bulgaria
●     Croatia
●     Estonia
●     Finland
●     German
●     Latvia
●     Lithuania
●     Luxembourg
●     Poland
●     Romania
●     Spain
●     Sweden
●     Turkey

Although it is not actively participating, the UK will nonetheless be affected by any results, as these will influence tyres produced and sold across the EU. While UK organisations like the National Measurement and Regulation Office are not participating, PROSAFE will be communicating with authorities from non-participatory EU members, as well as various other European associations.

The Problem With EU Tyre Labels

Since their implementation in 2012, there have been many complaints and issues regarding the EU labels. Their original goal was to provide a fair playing-field for drivers, allowing an easy comparison between three of the most important factors:
●     Rolling resistance
●     Wet grip
●     External noise
We previously published a guide to understanding EU tyre labels, as well as answering additional frequent questions. 
EU tyre label

The EU labels focus on too few features to be used on their own when buying new tyres

The biggest concern about this system is that there is little third party control. Manufacturers are free to test their own products and, while the manner in which they do so is regulated, there is arguably too much room for variance. By not being tested in the same conditions or test site, there is the possibility of similar tyres receiving different results.
One of the other issues faced by these labels is that they do not differ for winter tyres. As such, labels on these products offer very little in the way of valuable information to drivers. Furthermore, they simply do not take into the different requirements that a winter tyre needs.
It is thought that many of these issues cause people to choose what they believe is the most suitable tyre, when more efficient options are available. PROSAFE believes it can “deliver energy savings of at least 105 GWh/year through removing incorrectly labelled passenger car tyres from the market.”

Outside the EU

Of course, this will mostly focus on tyres being manufactured and/or purchased within the EU - it will not make a difference if you purchase a tyre and import from outside of this economic area.
Specifically, there is often some concern about buying tyres from China. If you’re purchasing from a global manufacturer, there should be no difference where the individual tyre was produced. It will have the same EU label and be of the exact same quality. However, the problem arises when purchasing tyres from specifically Chinese manufacturers. 
Tyre made in china

due to a lack of labelling, it’s difficult for drivers to gauge the quality of tyre models from Chinese manufacturers

There is some hope, however, as China looks to be changing its internal labelling laws for tyres. While they are currently voluntary, it is expected they will become mandatory by 2019, allowing for greater uniform classification.
Right now, there’s a 2 years to go before MSTYR15 is complete and even longer for any noticeable changes to be felt. For anyone looking to buy tyres now, we always recommend getting your information from numerous sources. This includes automotive organisations and magazines - which conduct more in-depth tests that analyse additional factors outside of the EU labels - and the reviews of other drivers, such as those found in our portal.


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